Puteaux mayor’s bars: Five people charged with tax evasion or money laundering

Puteaux mayor’s bars: Five people charged with tax evasion or money laundering

After the mother, the son, the daughter, the son-in-law … Five people have recently been indicted in the case of the “102 gold bars” of Joëlle Ceccaldi-Raynaud, mayor of the very wealthy city of Puteaux from Paris, which is suspected of undeclared funds passed on to her daughter.

The former deputy and mayor LR, who denies the facts, has been charged with serious tax evasion in this case since December 2020 and has been placed under judicial review.

The new charges, announced between April and August, are against his children Vincent Franchi and Emilie Franchi and his son-in-law Vincent Laviec. They also concern Didier Ben Sadoun, account manager at the time of the events, and Olivier Ben Sadoun, former sports director at Puteaux town hall.

All are suspected of tax evasion, some with aggravating circumstances such as organized gangs, sources familiar with the matter told AFP, which Nanterre prosecutors confirmed.

Emilie Franchi and her husband Vincent Laviec were also charged in April with tax evasion in the 2010s.

Specifically, Ms Ceccaldi-Raynaud is accused of transferring undeclared funds to her daughter into an account in Luxembourg, including 102 gold bars valued at the time at two million euros and almost €865,000 in cash. According to the mayoress, these bars came from an inheritance from her Corsican grandmother.

For Baptiste de Fresse de Monval, Ms Franchi and Mr Laviec’s lawyer, his client is “the victim” and her husband Vincent Laviec is “the turkey of the farce”.

Former mayor of Puteaux, now deceased, Charles Ceccaldi-Raynaud 23 October 2009 (POOL/AFP – Lionel BONAVENTURE)

Mrs. Ceccaldi-Raynaud’s daughter, “very young” at the time of the facts (twenties), would only have obeyed her family, while her husband “would have discovered this affair when he married her” .

Emilie Franchi, who now works in an exchange office and is 39, and her husband, a 42-year-old restaurateur, “did everything to normalize the situation” without benefiting, their advice told AFP.

The son, Vincent Franchi, 44, currently deputy mayor of Puteaux, was also charged with money laundering in May. He denies the facts he is accused of, assures AFP that he only acted as a proxy for this account and regrets a “very long process”.

– Grandfather and private banks –

It was her grandfather, the father of Joëlle Ceccaldi-Raynaud, who first brought this famous report to court in 2008: Charles Ceccaldi-Raynaud, mayor of Puteaux for 35 years and deceased in 2019. The former parliamentarian, the Gaullist Corsican, embodied a generation that had transformed Hauts-de-Seine, west of Paris, after being a working-class suburb, into a prosperous department.

Gold bars photographed in Sydney on August 5, 2020 (AFP - DAVID GRAY)
Gold bars photographed in Sydney on August 5, 2020 (AFP – DAVID GRAY)

In 2007, he himself was accused of corruption in an extensive investigation and suspected of being the beneficiary of an allegedly manipulated boiler room contract in the La Défense business district. In 2008, he reported to the investigating judge a hidden account belonging to his daughter in Luxembourg, suggesting that it could contain bribes related to the boiler room. The two then argued about the town hall.

In 2015, Mediapart revealed that this account, now in Emilie Franchi’s name, had been emptied in 2008.

The investigation, launched in 2016 by the Economic and Financial Department of the Nanterre Public Prosecutor’s Office, was entrusted to an investigating magistrate in 2019.

In 2021, Olivier Ben Sadoun, a City Hall employee by availability, told Mediapart that he transported some of the bars and witnessed numerous withdrawals of money and their repatriation to France, notably in the presence of Emilie or Vincent Franchi.

“Mr. Ben Sadoun says everything and tries to protect his (own) brother,” defended Vincent Franchi to AFP.

Olivier Ben Sadoun was charged in August 2022, a few months after his brother Didier Ben Sadoun, account manager. Contacted, her attorney was unavailable.

Two names of private banks appear in this affair: Edmond de Rothschild and Quilvest. They have not been questioned at this time, according to two sources familiar with the matter. Firstly, their lawyers did not reply to AFP, and secondly, they did not want to comment.

Reference: www.challenges.fr

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